Gary Larson graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in mass communication in 2003. His first step into the art world was in elementary school, and he’s loved it ever since.

“I took some art classes in high school while I was working on my mass communication degree at the University of Utah,” Larson said, “But I think I figured out a lot of what I do on my own.” Though he has been interested in art since childhood, Larson has chosen not to make a career out of it. By day he is an average 9-to-5-Joe, but he is an aspiring visual artist by night.

Larson doesn’t mind having a day job that doesn’t directly pertain to his artwork. He believes it is important for him to step away sometimes and allow himself time to “figure out some of the puzzles that come up with creating new art.” Doing other work often brings him new inspiration for the projects he is working on.

His latest work is a series of male figure drawings entitled “Aaronic Configuration.” It will be featured at the gallery God Hates Robots, May 19 through June 9. Larson drew inspiration for his latest work from other artists’ figure work in the past century. As he was admiring the works of Rodine, Matisse and the like, he noticed there was a significant lack of male figures. “I thought it would look pretty to arrange a show of pieces based on men only,” Larson commented.

He went on to describe the nature of his latest exhibit.

“I wanted my figure art to be detailed enough that there is a narrative quality to it. I hope some emotion, some back-story and information about the interaction I had with the models come through in the pieces. I think all of the 25 men featured in the show have fascinating backgrounds. Included in these pieces is a rock climber, an architecture student, a couple of army veterans, some musicians, a football player, some wrestlers and other men with a wide variety of interests and experiences. Hopefully, the lines in my work don’t just form the shapes of the people, but also tell a little bit of their stories.”

To Larson, art is one of the most fulfilling aspects of life. “It really is just an outward expression of an idea someone had,” he said, “but it has the ability to stick around on earth longer than its creator.”

Larson is particularly fond of the humanity in art and how fascinating humans are because of it.

When asked what his advice would be to aspiring artists, professionals and amateurs alike, Larson remarked that “everyone should be making art using whatever skill they have.” He finds the same value in the sketchbook of a student as he does a professional collection of work by someone such as Gauguin. He believes that “taking time to be creative helps you sort things out in life and gives you something nice to look at.”

Haley Oliphant is an English major here at the U. She enjoys long walks on the beach, snarky commentary, and the oxford comma. @oliphant_haley


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